The KingStar Company was founded in 2018 by Marcus and Cal Niemela, two brothers from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with a long history of entrepreneurial and design success.
In 1976 Cal was awarded his first patent for a multi-position V-Snowplow and with his father, they launched the Boss Snowplow business. After several years of commercial success The Boss plow was manufactured under a license agreement for 20 years and was recently sold to the Toro Company.
Following this venture, in 1993 Cal and Marcus teamed up with brothers Curt, Nels, and Jered Niemela to develop and commercialize Cuda Cleaning Systems – compact parts washers for the automotive repair industries, and later added conveyorized systems for manufacturers.
Cuda was featured as the 28th fastest growing company in the nation by Dunn and Bradstreet. Within four years Cuda Cleaning Systems was the recognized leader in aqueous based parts cleaning equipment and was acquired by the $1.8B Harbour Group.
Innovating once again with a focus on commercial snow and ice removal equipment, where operator profit was limited by inefficient designs, the Niemela brothers conceptualized and patented an expanding snowplow that took the market by storm, branding the company Blizzard Corporation. This unique snowplow revolutionized commercial snow removal and with it attracted the attention of Douglas Dynamics/Western Snowplow, the industry leader who in 2005 acquired the business and intellectual property. The Blizzard plow design remains in production today under the Western Prodigy, Wide-Out and SnoEx brands.
After divesting and moving to Arizona, Marcus became involved with equestrian sports and recognized the challenges faced when traveling with horses for recreation, shows, and riding sports. The challenges of corralling horses and the dangers of stowing hay on top of the trailer were viewed as major pain points so Marcus and Cal teamed up and began designing a trailer that would solve these issues.
Together they reimagined every aspect of horse and camping trailers with an aim to revolutionize the market, focusing on the needs of both horses and riders. Noting that many riders were limited by strength and mobility to load hay bales overhead, they sought to create new market space for this neglected segment.
Marcus and Cal conceptualized folding corral sections and hay pods that would raise and lower automatically from a stowed travel position to a fully deployed corral system with the touch of a switch. With decades of hydraulics experience in mobile equipment they then formalized the concept into an elegantly engineered system that went viral the moment it was seen on Facebook.
In addition to efficient corral and hay movement, horse hydration was a high priority design point. To eliminate the need for hand watering, four automatic water cups were added. Two were integrated into the exterior trailer sidewalls and one in each interior stall manger. This feature allows the horses to hydrate on demand whether traveling over the road or relaxing in the corral area.
Trailer production is being ramped up immediately to meet the strong demand. Two bumper pull models are currently available with several gooseneck models slated to launch in early 2020. The Kingstar Team looks forward to fostering relationships with customers, dealers and investors.